Wednesday, 20 November 2013

D&AD 50 – 50 years of excellence in design and advertising and the people that made it happen. 2013

It’s the one advertising award book to take serious: “Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple computers, flies in to collect the company’s fourth Black Pencil for product design.” (D&AD, 2013, p.27).


“While creativity in films, drama, food and literature flourishes, generally speaking, the way business uses creative advice to assist with its self-expression has become dispiriting – a bundle of stale and well worn clich├ęs.” (Wolff in D&AD, 2013, p.91).

“Now that there is far more work from around the world, more diverse categories and multiple juries with international judges, it’s harder to maintain the standards that D&AD was created to uphold and celebrate.” (Wolff in D&AD, 2013, p.91).



“I will never write a book on advertising because there’s nothing to say that hasn’t been said before. If you want to learn how to do great ads, my advice is to study great ads. Everything that John Webster wanted to say about advertising is in his work.” (Abbott in D&AD, 2013, p.115).

“why did they (the presidents and people working for D&AD besides their job) give so much time to D&AD? I suspect, like me, they thought it was good for business. They turned out to honour the brave and good work, and by honouring it, they helped to increase it.” (Abbott in D&AD, 2013, p.117).

“Right now, advertising is trying to invade culture in every way it can. Back then, it was happy to sit in a little box called advertising – but it feels like it was much more a part of culture than it is nowadays.” (Henry in D&AD, 2013, p.115).

“The tougher jurors’ decisions are, the more likely next year’s entrants will strive to produce greater work.” (Brown in D&AD, 2013, p.115).

“However, the most ironic and, in retrospect, iconic moment was when the Yellow Pencil for Interactive was collected by none other than the legendary and much missed John Webster, advertising’s Mr TV – the man who considered a 48-sheet poster campaign “below the line”.” (Brown in D&AD, 2013, p.267).

“Like John Webster, D&AD understood it wasn’t advertising’s job to sell stuff.
It was marketing’s job to sell stuff.
Advertising was just the noisy, visible part of marketing.” (Trott in D&AD, 2013, p.302).
“It is advertising’s job to amplify marketing’s strategy.” (Trott in D&AD, 2013, p.303).

“One year, BMP won six D&AD Awards.
More than any other agency, including CDP.
I remember thar night sitting next to Stanley Pollitt, he was so proud.
Not because we’d won so many Awards.
But because, for once, John Webster had only won half of the,.
The entire rest of the creative department, had finally managed to win as many Awards as John had on his own.
Stanley saw that as a sign of his agency’s maturity.” (Trott in D&AD, 2013, p.303).


“I’ve been Chairman of the education sub-committee, and we came up with the phrase: ‘With a pencil comes responsibility.’ We are floating ideas like: if you win a Pencil, should you do educational community service? Should a Black Pencil be 12 hours and a Yellow Pencil eight?” (Brody in D&AD, 2013, p.349).

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Good Strategy Bad Strategy – Richard P. Rumelt 2011

 “bad strategy covers up its failure to guide by embracing the language of broad goals, ambition, vision and values.” (Rumelt, 2011, p.5).

 “A good strategy does more than urge us forward toward a goal or a vision. A good strategy honestly acknowledges the challenges being faced and provides an approach to overcoming them.” (Rumelt, 2011, p.4).

“The most basic idea of strategy is the application of strength against weakness. Or, if you prefer, strength applied to the most promising opportunity.” (Rumelt, 2011, p.9).



During the first Iraq war: the cost to invade Kuwait and face the Iraqi troops head on they estimated 2000 dead and 8000 wounded. “Schwarzkopf rejected this approach in favour of a two-pronged plan. Air attacks would be used to reduce the Iraqi capabilities by 50 percent. Then he planned a massive secret “left hook”. While the world’s attention was focused on CNN’s 24/7 coverage of troops just south of Kuwait, the coalition would secretly shift a force of 250,000 soldiers well west of Kuwait. (…) The U.S. Marines ground forces were ordered to move slowly northward into Kuwait, a ploy to entice the entrenched Iraqis southward and out of their fortifications, where they would be hit from the side by part of the massive left hook.” (Rumelt, 2011, p.17).

“The best answer to this puzzle is that the real surprise was that such a pure and focused strategy was actually implemented. Most complex organizations spread rather than concentrate resources, acting to placate and pay off internal and external interests.” (Rumelt, 2011, p.19).

“”Our defense planning,” he said, “had become driven by the annual budgeting process.” (…) “This process of justifying expenditures as counters to Soviet expenditures conditioned U.S. actions on Soviet strength, expressed as threats, not on Soviet weaknesses and constraints.” (Rumelt, 2011, p.28).

 “The basic problem is confusion between strategy and strategic goals.” (Rumelt, 2011, p.34).

“Bad strategy, I explained, is not the same as no strategy or strategy that fails rather than succeeds. (…) Bad strategy is long on goals and short on policy or action.” (Rumelt, 2011, p.36).

“Motivation is an essential part of life and success, and a leader may justly ask for “one last push”, but the leader’s job is more than that. The job of the leader is also to create the conditions that will make that push effective, to have a strategy worthy of the effort called upon.” (Rumelt, 2011, p.49).

“channeling energy into what seem to be one or two of the most attractive opportunities.” (Rumelt, 2011, p.49).

“The second form of bad strategic objectives is one that is “blue sky”. A good strategy defines a critical challenge. What is more, it builds a bridge between that challenge and action.” (Rumelt, 2011, p.54).

“Good strategy is coherent action backed up by an argument.” (Rumelt, 2011, p.76).

 “There was no way to establish that this particular guiding policy was the only good one, or the best one. But, absent a good guiding policy, there is no principle of action to follow.” (Rumelt, 2011, p.87).

“In very general terms, a good strategy works by harnessing power and applying it where it will have the greatest effect.” (Rumelt, 2011, p.95).

“A pivot poin magnifies the effect of effort.” (Rumelt, 2011, p.102).

 “An important duty of any leader is to absorb a large part of that complexity and ambiguity, passing on to the organization a simpler problem – one that is solvable.” (Rumelt, 2011, p.111).

“Chain-link systems can be changed and made excellent. It takes insights into the key bottlenecks.” (Rumelt, 2011, p.121).

“A fundamental ingredient in a strategy is a judgement or anticipation concerning the thoughts and/or behaviour of others.” (Rumelt, 2011, p.128).

“You must press where you have advantages and side step situations in which you do not.” (Rumelt, 2011, p.161).

“The silver machine’s advantage gives it value, but the advantage isn’t interesting because there is no way for an owner to engineer an increase in value.” (Rumelt, 2011, p.168). “a competitive advantage is interesting when one has insights into ways to increase its value.” (Rumelt, 2011, p.168).

Brand/Product “Extensions based on proprietary know-how benefit from the fact that knowledge is not “used up” when it is applied; it may even be enhanced. By contrast, extensions based on customer belief, such as brand names, relationships, and reputation, may be diluted or damaged by careless extension.” (Rumelt, 2011, p.172).

Walt Disney: “To appreciate the magnitude of this advantage, note that no other film company is able to pull viewers to its movies by its brand name alone.” (Rumelt, 2011, p.172).


William Blake – Songs of innocence and of experience.

“At Lambeth, where many of the Songs were composed, Blake was once discovered in his little back-garden, sitting naked in the sun under a tree with Catherine, reading Paradise Lost. He called to the friend, ‘Come in! It’s only Adam and Eve, you know!” (Holmes in Blake, 1991, p.vi).




“’”What,” it will be Questioned, “when the Sun rises do you not see a round disc of fire, somewhat like a Guinea?” O no, no, I see an Innumerable company of the Heavenly host crying “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord almighty.” I question not my Corporeal or Vegetative Eye any more than I would question a Window concerning a Sight. I look through it & not with it.’” (Holmes in Blake, 1991, p.vii).

 “He is called by thy name,
For he calls himself a Lamb:
He is meek & he is mild,
He became a little child:
I a child & thou a lamb” (Blake, 1991, 8; The Lamb).

“Look on he rising sun: there God does live
And gives his light. And gives his heat away.
(…)
And we are put on earth a little space ..
That we may learn to bear the beams of love.
(…)
For when our souls have learn’d the heat to bear
The cloud will vanish we shall hear his voice.” (Blake, 1991, 10; The Little Black Boy).

“Father, father, where are you going
O do not walk so fast.
Speak father, speak to your little boy
Or else I shall be lost.” (Blake, 1991, 13; The Little Boy Lost).

“When wolves and tygers howl for prey
They pitying stand and weep;
Seeking to drive their thirst away,
And keep them from the sheep.
But if they rush dreadful;
The angels most heedful,
Receive each mild spirit.
New worlds to inherit.

And there the lions ruddy eyes,
Shall flow with tears of gold;
And pitying the tender cries,
And walking round the fold:
Saying: wrath by his meekness
And by his health, sickness
Is driven away,
From our immortal day.

And now beside thee bleating lamb.
I can lie down and sleep;” (Blake, 1991, 21; Night).

The core in the songs of experience is that the root of evil is selfishness. Many of the pictures of the song of innocence is turned into evil by selfishness. Because selfishness destroys the circle of reciprocity, goodwill and gifts:
“Am not I
A fly like thee?
Or art not thou

A man lie me?” (Blake, 1991, 40; The Fly).